Adjusting to COVID

Shop Local Canada

The last eight months have been challenging for most adjusting to COVID… but have been especially challenging for small businesses. Businesses that were built on relationships, not online, that weren’t prepared to communicate through social media alone. Businesses had to react to the changing rules and advice of governments – and probably even shut down for a period of time.

I love a good small business. Going into a shop and chatting with the staff. Getting recommendations and seeing which brands they’ve chosen to sell; and knowing that whatever I purchased would be well-loved. But shopping during COVID? With two kids? This is not the peace I’m looking for… 

The impact of COVID on shopping small

So many shops were not prepared (how could they be?) for the shut-down and shift in shopping behaviour to adjust COVID-19. In the last eight months, I have been doing my part to shop at local shops, spreading my funds where I could, and sharing with others the amazing service I’ve experienced. I realized this week I could do more than shop… I could share a few tips for those companies hoping to weather the COVID storm.

The top 5 tips for being “socially distant” with your clients:

  1. Create an online presence – your website needs to serve as your virtual shop – your social media channels as your staff. Aim to create the same experience and feeling online that your customers receive in-person. Cinder & Sage and Great Things in Store have done a fantastic job of this! 
  2. Communicate what you’re doing to make sure people are safe at your in-person location – even if this seems obvious to you that you’re following the local guidance – people want to know they’re safe if they choose to shop in-person. Pink Liberty Boutique worked hard to ensure you knew what to expect if visiting her small shop (note: she has now closed her in-person store and is focused online only – but is still phenomenal at customer experience!).
  3. Take a look at your shop and adjust it accordingly so that people can shop safely, distanced from other shoppers. This may mean creating a one-way flow and restricting the number of people you have inside at a time. Creating a safe shopping experience, even if it takes some time, is better than being in the news for a COVID outbreak. Restaurants and cafes have been doing this very well. 
  4. Take the time to post on your social channels what you have in store. Some people might not be comfortable shopping in-person, give them the opportunity to still shop from you. Luna Blue Boutique shows the latest and greatest in-store regularly, and adds links to their Instagram so I can easily spend money with the click of a button!
  5. Try your best to stay positive and flexible. Shopping and supporting small businesses is an opportunity to relax and good experiences will be shared with friends. ❤️

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